Identifying with an Ethnic Group

“Dominicano soy de mis raices yo no voy olvidarme, soy de una loma y lo llevo en la sangre, Montecristeño por la gracia de Dios” -Fernando Villalona.

It’s easy to sing along to the song if you’re Dominican and have been raised in a Dominican household.  When I was growing up I only identified as being Dominican and not Dominican and Cuban, because I was raised in a Dominican home and had only visited the Dominican Republic. I went almost every summer. I felt like I knew more about Dominicans and the island then I knew about Cuba. I only knew that Cuba was a communist country and the theories they had about Cuban people. Also, I didn’t speak like my dad so I didn’t feel that tie. It wasn’t until I visited Cuba for two weeks, the summer of my 16th birthday, that I started to identify as being Cuban. I learned so much about the country, the culture and the government. I was able to see that most of the theories and rumors were false. This experience taught me that if you fail to become familiar with your culture, it can take away from you identity. I was so naïve, because I didn’t have the initiative to ask my father questions and to learn about a significant part of me. I feel like this doesn’t only apply to me, but so many other Hispanics as well other ethnicities. We often represent a culture without knowing its history. I encourage everyone to take the initiative to understand and become familiar with the ethnic group they represent.

By Marytere Acosta Guillon

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